Jeff Fest celebrates Drink Their Blood guitarist Jeff’s birthday with special guests at Papa Pete’s in Kalamazoo.
Jeff Fest 2022
Back in late October when talking with Drink Their Blood on the Fans With Bands podcast, Ben Boggs (vocals for Drink Their Blood) mentioned that they would be doing a show in January called Jeff Fest. You may wonder “Who the hell is Jeff?” and “How did Jeff get his own Fest?”. You see, Jeff is a guitarist for Drink Their Blood, and Jeff Fest is a celebration of his birthday. Sounds like Jeff is well-loved by his family, friends, and band. I marked my calendar to head out to Papa Pete’s in Kalamazoo and join in the celebration of Jeff.
The bill for Jeff Fest was stacked with a lively mix of Michigan extreme music. In addition to the hometown heroes and hosts Drink Their Blood, tonight’s performance includes:
- Detroit grind masters Shit Life
- Mount Pleasant melodic death gods From Blue To Gray
- Muskegon’s rambunctious gothic bluesmen Colt Snuffer and the Dead Horsemen
- Kalamazoo’s blacken post-metal One With The Riverbed
- Kalamazoo grinding hardcore crowd surfers Terror Cell
Go grab a beer and let’s check out the show.
Opening up Jeff Fest is Terror Cell. They bring the terror in short brutal bursts. Think of a psychotic road worker taking a jackhammer to everything in sight and you’ll get the idea. Danny’s (vocalist for Terror Cell) segues between songs added a dash of humor between the beatings. If you love music that is fun with a fistful of adrenaline, then be sure to catch Terror Cell when they roll into town.
One With The Riverbed
One With The Riverbed blew me away from the start of their set. I felt emotionally charged as the band laid bare their craft for all of us to experience. Their music is stark, fierce, and poetic. You could sense questioning loss, anger, and sorrow. The ebbs and flows matched the beauty and darkness of life and death. Their performance matched the emotional intensity of the music they played to perfection. After their set, I quickly went to their merch table to purchase a shirt and a cd. While I loved all the bands at Jeff Fest, I was smitten with One With The Riverbed.
Colt Snuffer and the Dead Horsemen
Colt Snuffer and the Dead Horsemen were a last-minute addition to fill a gap sadly created due to covid. While some may think of them as the odd man out, I thoroughly enjoyed their performance at Jeff Fest. Colt Snuffer and the Dead Horsemen are brimming with the grit of Johnny Cash and Tom Waits combined with a salt shake of Nick Cave. It is sultry music on the edge of violence and it sounded magnificent. Their cover of “In The Air Tonight” by Phil Collins was unexpected, yet excellent and had us all singing along.
From Blue To Gray
I have missed seeing From Blue To Gray. They put on a fantastic show at Jeff Fest driven by powerful melodic metal played to perfection. From Blue To Gray relentlessly unleashed a barrage of technically brilliant and razor-sharp songs that captivated the audience. This was new drummer Dicky Post’s first gig and he delivered a crushing performance fitting flawlessly into this metal machine. This was the first time I got to hear and see their new vocalist Josef Thered. He prowled the perimeter of the crowd like a berserker. Once again From Blue To Gray did not disappoint with their superb metal onslaught
Shit LIfe are the apex predators of grindcore. Their blazing set at Jeff Fest was like a piranha feeding frenzy of blast beats and machine gun riffs aimed to eviscerate everyone in the room. Shit Life’s exquisite manifestation of sonic chaos put a huge smile on my face. What a gift to witness grindcore played to perfection.
Drink Their Blood
Throughout the night, Ben or someone else would grab the sign reading “JEFF” and lead the crowd at Papa Pete’s in chants of “JEFF! JEFF! JEFF!” Drink Their Blood voted Jeff the best Jeff. He was even awarded a medal by the band in recognition of his awesomeness as the best Jeff. With this back story, you’ll understand why a chorus of “JEFF! JEFF! JEFF!” rang out as Drink Their Blood took the stage to close out Jeff Fest.
As you would expect from Drink Their Blood, their performance was mind-melting and sublime. I’m not sure how they can effortlessly play their progressive jazz blast furnace metal and make it all look easy. Sure Ben is convulsing like a madman, but the rest of the band is cloaked in a blanket of serenity as all hell breaks loose around them. The mosh pit swirls as Jeff smiles and makes his 8 string guitar sing. A Drink Their Blood show is surreal and exhilarating.
At the end of the night, I found myself once again high on the music of Michigan. Jeff Fest was beyond my wildest expectations. The prodigious volume of talent that graced the stage at Papa Pete’s was staggering. Equally impressive was the sizable crowd who savored every second of each performance as if it were the last. As I walked back to my hotel room in the freezing cold, my heart was warmed with the glowing gift of experiencing a stellar Michigan music performance. Happy Birthday, Jeff!!
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